Wednesday, March 5, 2003, Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


7 held in fake-witness case
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
In a first of its kind in the region, the police today booked 14 persons for committing forgery, cheating, submitting false documents and perjury (lying under oath in a court) at the local district courts. For a tidy sum, these full-time bondmen appeared before courts and allegedly submitted fake documents to secure the release of various accused. They had helped a large number of persons and had been operating from near the court premises for the past several years.

These ‘handy witnesses’ had become a major cause of concern for the police as well as the judiciary for their illegal activities. First, they helped alleged criminals in securing bail, who, then conveniently, jumped bail, increasing the number of proclaimed offenders. Secondly, they were helping in increasing the crime rate by helping the accused. Thirdly, they hampered the due process of justice.

Now for the first time in recent years, the police had given attention to this factor of crime. Seven out of these 14 persons had been arrested while others were likely to be arrested soon.

Documentary proof of various identities of these persons collected by the CIA Wing of the local police had showed startling revelations. Each person had more than 25 identities and could be labeled as masters of disguise. The cops were also probing the role played by some employees of various courts that how such persons managed to work smoothly without getting noticed in the past.

The accused were experts in making duplicate documents. Several fake stamps, identity cards, forged papers, documents and evidence of forged signatures had been discovered by the police. These papers were required to furnish bail bond of an accused.

Those arrested have been identified as Jarnail Singh, Baldev Singh, Dalip Singh, Palwinder Singh, Baljit Singh, Ram Murti and Ram Nath.

Those at large are Rakesh Bansal, Mandeep Singh, Swarandeep Singh, Jagish Chander, Ashpat Lal, Baldev Singh, an owner of Ganpati Hosiery, and Naresh Kumar.

The persons have been booked under 25 Sections of the IPC. The Sections include 255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 260, 263A, 379, 487, 420, 465, 466, 467, 468, 469, 471,472, 473, 474, 475, 476, 489A, 489 C, 120-B of the IPC and Sections 8 and 9 of the PC Act.

These charges pertained to counterfeiting government stamps, theft of government stamps or seals or documents, forgery, cheating and prevention under the corruption Act.

This was just a tip of the iceberg, claimed CIA Wing sources. They said all those persons who had taken the help of these accused would be nabbed and re-tried. Sources said there were several other fake witnesses operating from the district courts and these too would be nabbed soon.



Banks punch RBI order
Stapled wads of currency notes in circulation
Kanchan Vasdev
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Even after the Reserve Bank of India issued a directive to all banks, government offices and credit societies against stapling of currency notes, the practice goes on unabated in almost all bank branches in the city.

Inquiries made by the Tribune revealed that in some banks, the directive were being violated with impunity while in the others, confusion prevailed on how to implement it. Some banks have also written to the RBI seeking fresh guidelines over the issue.

The RBI, in circulars issued to all banks and notices placed in newspapers recently, had directed that the wads should not be stapled in order to avoid damage to currency notes. The RBI had stated that it had received complaints from the public about multiple stapling and overwriting on the currency bills and it had issued a directive under Section 35A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, prohibiting the stapling of currency notes and note packets.

The banks had been directed to issue only unstapled currency notes and requested the public to accept the latter only. But the banks are issuing stapled notes and the public is also asking for the same.

Stapled notes were issued today to a Tribune team by local branches of various banks. When the managers concerned were asked about it, they expressed ignorance about alternative methods. They stated that the RBI had failed to suggest these methods.

A bank manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they were issuing stapled currency notes received from the public itself. He said some people wanted a huge amount of amount and preferred only stapled notes as these were easier to count. He further stated that after reading the guidelines he had directed his colleagues not to staple the notes. ‘‘But there were takers for these notes. Everybody wanted stapled ones. Then we switched over to stapling again.’’ he said.

Another manager of a private bank said the old method was being followed and a letter had written to the RBI for advising them about alternative methods. He said the instructions were not clear as to how the currency should be handled if not by stapling it.

He stated that the RBI should enforce these directions by warning the public and bank officials and take strict action against violators. “Otherwise it would be very difficult to follow it as we receive cash from private parties in stapled wads only and we cannot refuse to accept it. Once a bill is stapled the damage is already done,” he said.

A manager said when he stopped stapling of notes following the instructions, he had a tough time depositing the bank's cash exceeding the retention value as the major branch refused to accept it. Then he had to ask other banks whether they needed excess money.



Waive’ excise duty on knitting units
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, March 4
The National Textile Committee of the CII has hailed the decision of the Finance Minister in the Central Budget concerning textile industry and suggested some more changes to create employment and give relief to the knitting sector.

Mr S.P. Oswal, Chairman, National Textile Committee of the CII, today said various textile bodies had been working with the government to recognise the contribution of the textile industry in the national economy for creating employment opportunities through a focused attention on the fiscal policies. The government had proposed major changes in the duty structure relating to textiles to remove large number of exemptions and withdrawal of deemed credit scheme.

“This move is likely to remove the temptation for duty evasion, creating a level playing field within different segments of the industry,” he said.

Mr Oswal welcomed the reduction of import duty on some textile machines and garments, reduction of excise duty on woven fabrics, synthetic blended yarns with cotton and polyester filament yarn, and reduction of customs duty on apparel raw wool.

He maintained that the industry wanted all textile items to be taxed at a uniform rate of excise duty.

Mr Oswal, who is also a member of the task force set up by the Prime Minister under the chairmanship of Mr N.K. Singh, pointed out that even in the proposed tax structure, there were some anomalies as 100 per cent cotton knitted garments had been taxed at 8 per cent.

Referring to the knitting industry, he said the structure of knitting industry consisted of large number of small-scale units situated in various clusters. He pleaded exemption from excise duty and maintenance of excise records for knitting units.

He felt that excise duty on woven fabric be brought down to 8 per cent.

He opined that the government should authorise independent agencies like chartered accountants, excise accountants and other management consultants to see to it that all small units adhered to various obligations under the excise rules.



MLAs race for ministries
Vimal Sumbly
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
With the Himachal poll over and the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, having announced that the Cabinet would be expanded shortly, lobbying has already begun for seeking ministerial berths.

Currently there are only two ministers from the city — Mr Tej Prakash Singh, Transport Minister, and Mr Rakesh Pandey, Minister of State for Printing and Stationery. Of the remaining six, Mr Harnam Dass Johar, Mr Milkiat Singh Dakha and Mr Milkiat Singh Birmi have already served as ministers in the previous Congress governments and all of them are staking their claim on the basis of their experience.

While those having already served as ministers count it to their credit, the others like Mr Surinder Dawer, Mr Amrik Singh Dhillon and Ms Harbans Kaur Dullon are equally optimistic about making it to the Cabinet saying that fresher may also be given a chance to hold ministry. All are keeping their fingers crossed and camping in New Delhi.

The Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, Agriculture Minister, Ms Rajinder Kaur Bhattal, and PPCC president, Mr H.S. Hanspal, are also in Delhi where they have held several rounds of talks with the leaders of the Congress high command and also Congress president Sonia Gandhi. 



Candidates out in streets
Tribune Reporters

Khamano, March 4
All candidates of the 11 wards here started campaigning today through loudspeakers and mass meetings. There are 32 candidates in the fray, including 12 women.
Both the Congress and the SAD are playing a major role though there are no official party candidates. All of them are contesting as Independents.

The candidates are: Ward 1 (Reserve) — Mr Sukhwinder Singh, Mr Sadhu Singh (SAD) and Mr Harbhinder Singh (Congress); Ward 2 (Reserve) — Ms Saroj Rani, Ms Harbans Kaur (SAD), Ms Raj Dulari (Congress) and Ms Lakhwinder Kaur; Ward 3 — Mr Diwan Chand (Congress), Mr Balaur Singh (SAD) and Mr Ravinderpreet Singh; Ward 4 — Mr Inderjit Singh (SAD), Mr Balwinder Singh (Congress) and Mr Mohinder Kaur; Ward 5 (Reserve) — Ms Gurmit Kaur, Ms Jaswant Kaur and Ms Ranjit Kaur; Ward 6 — Mr Balamjit Singh (SAD) and Mr Major Singh (Congress); Ward 7 (Reserve) — Mr Amarjit Singh, Mr Harkirat Singh (SAD), Mr Harmit Singh (Congress) and Mr Dharam Singh; Ward 8 — Ms Harpal Kaur, (SAD) and Ms Malkit Kaur (Congress); Ward 9 — Mr Dilbag Singh (SAD-BJP), Mr Babu Singh Chouhan (BJP) and Mr Ranjit Singh (Congress); Ward 10 — Mr Gurdev Singh, Mr Gurmukh Singh and Jaspal Singh; Ward 11 — Ms Daljit Kaur and Ms Manjit Kaur.

JAGRAON: After the allotment of symbols to 55 candidates for elections to the Municipal Council of Jagraon, the candidates have started utilising three-wheelers and rickshaws fitted with loudspeakers. The campaigning has made it difficult for students to prepare for their final examinations. This has caused resentment among students. 



Women to tell tales of abuse on their day
Amarjit Thind
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The rising incidents of sexual harassment on educational campuses and religious “deras” in the state will be the focus of attention on the International Women’s Day function to be held at the local District Courts on March 8.

Perturbed about the alleged inaction, despite a public outcry in several well-publicised cases, the International Human Rights Organisation (IHRO) has resolved to shake the powers out of their slumber and urge them to take deterrent steps. That Supreme Court guidelines in this context are observed more in breach and religious authorities too are not above board is common knowledge among the masses, the organisation maintains.

Talking to the TNS, Mr D.S. Gill, chairperson of the outfit, said: “I have appealed to the Sant Samaj to create a mechanism to check the recurrence of such incidents at religious places so that devotees are not targeted by such elements in the garb of self-styled ‘babas’ and priests. The samaj should come out with the truth and start a movement to stem this menace in the state”.

He said such cases highlighted in the media were a tip of the iceberg and that such shameful and immoral activities had lowered the prestige of the institution and also harmed the cause of women emancipation. “Our organisation is with all the victims and will do whatever is in our power to get them justice. We will honour the five brave girls who have come forward to get the guilty punished and burn the effigies of the accused,” he added.

Reacting to the success of the mechanism to check sexual harassment at workplaces and educational institutions, he said: “The less said, the better. In majority of the cases, the parents of the victim are browbeaten or threatened with dire consequences. Official apathy and patronage of politicians ensure that most cases are abandoned halfway giving a sense of invincibility to the perpetrators.”

Commenting on the unwillingness by Akal Takht to initiate any action, he pointed out that the seriousness with which such cases were viewed could be gauged from a few cases where the victims were bold enough to stand up against those accused, but unfortunately, Akal Takht “chose” not to initiate action against the accused.

“Baba Dhanwant Singh was pardoned by Akal Takht even though he was later booked in a rape case and is presently behind bars. Similarly, no action has been initiated in the gang rape which took place on the Nanaksar gurdwara premises on May 30,” he pointed out.

In the latter episode, Mr Gill maintained that he had written to the Akal Takht Jathedar on June 7 and had urged him to initiate action so that exemplary punishment could be given to the accused. “I wrote another letter to him on December 20 and another some days ago but am yet to receive an acknowledgement,” he added.

The inquiry — conducted by the IHRO secretary-general, Mr Mohinder Singh Grewal, and secretary, Ms Inderjit Kaur — had concluded that the victim, a mother of two kids, was gang-raped and tortured for three days after being injected with sedatives and shown porno movies on the gurdwara premises, on Ferozepore Road, by a group of priests, led by Satnam Singh alias Satti.

The committee had also held the management responsible for the shocking incident on account of mismanagement and negligence to keep an eye on such unscrupulous elements. The IHRO had asked Baba Bhajan Singh to appear before Akal Takht to seek atonement for the sin that had been committed on the gurdwara premises.

Mr Gill claimed that the Baba failed to do so although the committee established that Satnam Satti and Tejinder Raja — the two accused — committed the crime and other sewadars could not check them, out of fear.



Bank staff seek more holidays
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Indian National Bank Employees Congress (INBEC) has resented the alleged discrimination being meted out to bank employees regarding gazetted holidays under the Negotiable Instruments Act, 1881, which are usually at a par in all states with state government employees.

The president of INBEC, Mr K.R. Tripathi, and the general secretary of the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Dr Shiv Gupta, and Mr Balwant Rai Kapoor have jointly submitted a memorandum to Finance Minister Lal Singh and Chief Minister Amarinder Singh resenting the alleged discrimination. They have said in all states, state government employees and bank employees observe the same holidays which are gazetted and declared under the Negotiable Instruments Act. They have added that the Punjab Government has deleted some holidays for bank employees for 2002.

They have said the Punjab Government has again deleted a number of holidays this year, such as Satguru Ram Singh’s birthday (February 9), Id-ul-Zuha (February 12), Sri Guru Ravi Das’ birthday (February 16), International Day (March 8), Holi (March 18), Bhagat Singh’s martyrdom day (March 23), Baisakhi (April 13), Dr B.R. Ambedkar’s birthday (April 14), Labour Day (May 1), Parshuram Jayanti (May 4), Prophet Mohammad’s birthday (May 15), Guru Arjan Dev’s martyrdom day (June 4), Kabir Jayanti (June 14), Udham Singh’s martyrdom day (July 31), Aggarsain Jayanti (September 26), Vishwakarma Day (October 27) and Punjab Day (November 1).

They have appealed to the Punjab Chief Minister and the Labour Minister to direct the Chief Secretary to renotify the holidays.



City airport to be upgraded
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Ludhiana airport is likely to be upgraded very soon so that regular air services can be started from here to other places in the country. This was stated by the president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Punjab, Mr N.S. Nanda, here today.

Mr Nanda said the Chief Minister, Capt Amarinder Singh, had made this announcement during a tourism conclave organised recently at Amritsar. He said the Chief Minister had pointed out that Ludhiana had great potential and the airport services needed to be augmented. Mr Nanda suggested that various airlines could extend their services from Delhi to Ludhiana also. 




THE frenzy after winning the Indo-Pak match held at Centurion Park recently reached such a pitch that even the police cops let themselves loose and started dancing in the Sarabha Nagar market. Soon after the winning four by Rahul Dravid, the residents especially the boys came out on the roads and some of them started stopping the traffic on the road and asked the passersby to dance with them. While nobody could refuse them the cops too chose to let the people enjoy and dance. After all it was a rare victory over the arch-rival.

Beggars are back

The much-publicised crackdown of the police against begging seems to have gone abegging. The police had arrested over 300 beggars, including a large number of children, from different parts of the city. The beggars were caught after the city residents raised quite a hue and cry over the nuisance of beggars. No traffic lights crossing or market was free from the alms seekers. The police crackdown resulted in immediate relief for the city residents. But now the police seemed to have started soft-peddling the issue. The beggars are back on the city roads. And there numbers seem to be increasing. Most troublesome part was that the beggars cause traffic accidents and the traffic cops standing nearby turn a blind eye to their running round the vehicles.

Politically correct MP

The Canadian Member of Parliament, Mr Jim Karygiannis, who is currently on a tour of Punjab takes care to be politically correct. Addressing gatherings at various functions in the state, he makes it a point to speak some words in Punjabi. To cap it all, his visiting cards have his name printed in Punjabi as well as in English Language. His constituency has a large number of Punjabi voters, most of them having relatives here. By showing his love for Punjabi, he does not miss a chance to be close to them.

Creativity at its best

Hotels, manufacturers, shopkeepers or in short, all kinds of businessperson are cashing in on the Cricket World Cup. Some had started schemes with attractive prizes. Hotels in Ludhiana have erected gaint screens to show World Cup matches that in turn ensure good response. Creativity was at its best in these sale promotion exercises. From decorating the hotel rooms, halls or bars on cricket theme to actually creating a cricket ground-like ambience, the creation varied a lot. The best was at one of the hotels in Bhadaur house where a cricket pitch was created. In a dim bar room, a green mat glowing with artificial lights falling on it almost succeeded in creating an actual cricket-match like atmosphere.

Kadi chawal

The channel beeming the World Cup Cricket matches brings before the audience the favorite food of the cricketer, besides telling them about the finer points of cricket. They have also taken upon themselves to teach the culinary skill. In one of the episodes they took the viewers to the kitchen of Yuvraj’s house. The doting mother of Yuvraj gave a live demonstration of the making of kadi chawal that her son Yuvraj has grown big eating. Not only that, they telecast the recipe for the kadi.

Natural selection

Ever seen a female dog feeding a piglet? Sounds impossible, but it is true. Nature’s ways are amazing. Some residents of the city were surprised to see a female dog feeding a piglet. It is usually seen that mothers belonging a certain species does not feed young ones of other species. But this fact was belied by this “generous mother”. 

School father?

A convent school student put his father in an embarrassing position when the father’s friend asked the student about his father’s name. ‘‘Whose name? School father or home father?” pat came the counter-question.

Slip of tongue

At a college function, the anchor said, ‘tohada sar sade haath’ much to the amusement of the listeners. But she soon realised her faux pas and quickly corrected herself by saying, ‘asi tan sada tuhade haath apne sira te chaundhe haan’.



Shankaracharya decries Sonia’s comment
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Swami Madhavasgaran Jagadguru Shankaracharya of the Jyotishpeeth has regretted the controversy generated over the installation of the portrait of Vir Savarkar in the Central Hall of Parliament. He criticised the Congress for deliberately triggering the “unnecessary controversy.”

Talking to reporters here yesterday, the Shankaracharya criticised the Congress President, Ms Sonia Gandhi and observed that she had no right to comment on such an emotive issue.

He pointed out, Savarakar had suffered in the British captivity for the freedom of the country for over 21 years and two third of it was spent in Kalpani only. Referring to the charges of his alleged involvement in Mahatma Gandhi’s assassination, the Jagadguru pointed out, he had already been exonerated of those charges.

The Shankaracharya pointed out, even Indira Gandhi was great admirer of Vir Savarkar and had described him as the great son of the soil. She had also issued a commemorative stamp in his honour.



Wasteland of integrity 

When the earth loses its moisture, it becomes an arid land where nothing grows. The deserts might have been oceans in the days gone by. When the surging waves departed, they left behind wide stretches of long furrows of shifting sands. T.S. Eliot considers the wasteland as the indicator of absence of ethical values. Something goes wrong, in an inexplicable manner, in the mind due to the drought of ideas. As a result, certain aberrations in one’s behaviour creep in.

In this background, if one views the present human situation, one feels that the reservoir of probity and integrity has dried up. In the process, the grating sound of the receding waves, as the poet says, “brings the eternal note of sadness in.”

To my mind, religion in politics and politics in religion have brought about a sea change in human nature. To repose faith in religion and be steadfast in politics are such virtues as have been eulogised since the dawn of civilisation. But the true image of humanity stands tarnished when politics invades religion and religion seeps into politics. Gone are the days when both of these could complement each other for the good of humanity.

The common people are still the same as they were aeons ago. They want peace and prosperity, the outcome of good governance. It is when the rulers neglect the aspirations of the people and impose upon them draconian laws that discontent simmers in the minds of the people. This is the starting point of the parting of ways. Furies are ever in pursuit of the guilty and efforts to hoodwink them never succeed. Ultimately, power-wielding accusers turn out to be the condemned accused.

Bereft of the good in religion and the rational in politics, today’s world has produced individuals who are being guided by selfish motives and cold calculations. There is no pricking of conscience and no concept of self-reproach in their cases. These persons refuse to come out of their shells and take delight in stuffing their minds with wicked notions. Power and pelf blink at the violation of human rights.

As the Bard exclaimed, “What a piece of work is man!” But the powers that be mostly fail to comprehend the meaning of this saying. N.S. Tasneem



Assurance to union on LIC issue
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
The Deputy Registrar, Co-operative Societies, Ludhiana, has assured the Primary Agriculture Co-operative Society Employees Union (PACS) of not blocking the LIC facility being given to the employees by the state government and upheld by the Supreme Court of India.

Mr Kamaldeep Singh Sangha, Deputy Registrar, gave the assurance to a delegation of the union that met him recently.

According to a press note issued here today by Mr Gurmel Singh Bharowal, president of the union, the government had given the facility to the employees but some members of the field staff were misleading the employees on the grounds that there was no such facility.

Mr Bharowal said under the facility, the employees were being given a special Life Insurance Premium that varied from employee to employee. However, some field staff employees were blocking the facility on flimsy grounds or for their own vested interests, claimed Mr Bharowal.

He said the union delegation met the Deputy Registrar and was given assurance on the issue. Mr Bharowal, while welcoming the step, said if the policy was blocked in future the union would file a contempt of court petition against the erring employees.

The delegation included president Gurmel Singh Bharowal, Balwant Singh Sidhwan Bet, Gurdeep Singh Hans, Jagtar Singh Nathowal, Jasbir Singh Dehlon, Balbir Singh Hambran and Mohinder Singh Manki.



Cong candidate is coop bank chief
Our Correspondent

Amloh, March 4
Mr Sukhwinder Singh Salana has been elected president of the Amloh Primary Cooperative Agricultural Development Bank Ltd. in place of Mr Balwant Singh Mudrian of the SAD.

Mr Harinder Singh of the Congress war earlier elected vice-president of the bank. Mr Shingara Singh Salana, president Block Congress Committee, Amloh, has congratulated the newly elected bank president.



Komal Khanna is district YC chief
Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, March 4
Mr Komal Khanna has been appointed president of the District Youth Congress (Urban), Ludhiana. Mr Randeep Singh Surjewala, president, Indian Youth Congress, in a communique sent recently, announced his appointment.



Man beats up father
Tribune Reporters

Khanna March 4
A man beat up his father at Bhamadi village, 8 km from here, on Tuesday. According to information, Santa Singh hit his father Bachan Singh with a wooden stick. The reason behind the incident was reported to be a property dispute. The victim was rushed to the civil hospital at Khanna.

Youth injured: A youth, Kaka Singh of Ikolaha, was injured when he was hit by a vehicle near the village on Tuesday. He was sent to the civil hospital at Khanna, from where he was referred to a Ludhiana hospital.

One sentenced: Mr H.S. Grewal, JMIC, Jagraon, on Tuesday sentenced Kuldeep Singh of Kulapatti Raikot for theft. The court held him guilty of stealing a bicycle from the Tahli Sahib Gurdwara and awarded him rigorous imprisonment for six months and a fine of Rs 500.

Booked: Dewan Chand of Moga was booked under Sections 4 and 5 of the Noise Act for using pressure horn while driving his truck at the main chowk of Sahnewal on Sunday. In a similar case Prem Masih of Batala was booked under Section 279 of the IPC by the Sahnewal police for obstructing traffic on the Sahnewal chowk by parking his truck in a wrong way on Sunday.


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